At least 13 people were killed and 52 others injured on Saturday when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a heavily-guarded court complex in the restive Swat valley in northwest Pakistan, a day after multiple blasts in Lahore claimed 45 lives.
Witnesses and police officials said the bomber came to the court complex in Mingora, the main city of Swat district, in a rickshaw.
As he walked towards the complex, he was spotted and challenged by security personnel manning a check post.
"The bomber blew himself up when the security personnel fired at him," district police chief Qazi Ghulam Farooq said.
The check post was manned jointly by army soldiers and policemen. Many of the 13 people killed in the attack were security personnel, officials said. Fiftytwo others were wounded.
The powerful blast also destroyed five cars. Footage on television showed some cars on fire as passers-by carried the injured away from the site of the blast.
Officials said they had found the legs of the bomber, adding that about 15 kg explosives were used in the attack. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Authorities imposed curfew in the area after the explosion. The attack caused panic in Mingora and hotels and shops shut down.
The district courts, offices of the district administration and the government circuit house, currently occupied by the army, are located a short distance from the site of the blast. The attack in Swat came a day after the eastern city of Lahore was rocked by seven blasts.
Five low-intensity explosions went off in the space of minutes near a market in Lahore last night, hours after two suicide bombers struck an army convoy, killing 45 people and injuring 100 others.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the suicide attack and vowed to continue the fight against terrorism despite such acts of violence. They also directed the authorities to initiate a probe and submit a report at the earliest.
Pakistan has been rocked by a series of terror attacks since the military launched a massive operation against the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan in October last year. Hundreds of people have died in these attacks. PTI